Theory Explains Why Jayson Tatum Made NBA All-Star Game Over Jaylen Brown


February 1, 2020

Did Jayson Tatum become an All-Star by shining under the brightest of lights?

An interesting theory The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn floated Saturday might explain why the Boston Celtics forward earned a spot in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game over teammate Jaylen Brown. The players contributions to Boston’s success in 2019-20 are relatively similar, but Washburn believes NBA head coaches, who selected the NBA All-Star reserves by vote, might have given Tatum extra consideration due to his performances in the biggest games.

“Brown has done exactly what the Celtics had hoped: He has turned into a reliable perimeter scorer, a staunch defender, and a fearless attacker in the paint,” Washburn wrote in his Sunday Basketball Notes column. “But it was likely down to Brown or Tatum for the All-Star Game. Their numbers are similar, but Tatum has turned in some big games in big moments. He scored 30 points in a nationally televised game against the Clippers in November. He dropped a career-high 41 Jan. 11 against the Pelicans, and he scored a game-high 27 Jan. 20 in a win over the Lakers. Brown may have been more consistent, but Tatum has produced with the spotlight on. And it would have been difficult to have three All-Stars (Kemba Walker was voted in as a starter) for a team currently in third place in the East.”

Although no NBA head coach has said Tatum or Brown was an “either/or” proposition, the NBA community generally views the former’s All-Star selection coming at the expense of the latter.

Washburn’s theory is similar to Michael C. Wright’s argument, which concluded Friday the Celtics having three All-Stars simply “would?ve been too many.”

If that’s the case, Tatum serves as an example of the value of putting on a good show when everyone is watching.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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